Questions about whether Sony is going to have an Xbox Game Pass competitor up its sleeve have been asked more than a few times these last few years, and recent leaks have suggested that will be the case. A recent report claimed that Sony is planning on launching a new subscription service (currently codenamed Spartacus) in Spring 2022 that, across multiple tiers, will combine PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now, and also offer backward compatibility for PS1, PS2, and PS3 games. A couple of recent developments have seemingly fallen in line with those reports as well.
One person who thinks that that’s a good idea is, interestingly enough, Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Speaking recently to IGN, when asked about the aforementioned rumour, Spencer said that initiative such as subscription services (among other things) are “the right answer.”
“I don’t mean it to sound like we’ve got it all figured out, but I think the right answer is allowing your customers to play the games they wanna play, where they wanna play them, and giving them choice about how they build their library, and being transparent with them about what our plans are in terms of our PC initiatives and our cross-gen initiatives and other things,” Spencer said. “So when I hear others doing things like Game Pass or coming to PC, it makes sense to me because I think that’s the right answer.”
Spencer went on to add that he personally views subscription services as “an inevitability”, and that he eventually expects Xbox’s competitors to adopt that approach as well.
“When I’m talking to our teams, I talk about it as an inevitability,” he said. “So for us, we should continue to innovate, continue to compete, because the things that we’re doing might be advantages that we have in the market today, but they’re just based on us going first, not that we’ve created something that no one else can go create.
“I like it because it feeds our energy on what are the next things that we should be working on as we continue to build out the things that we’ve done in the past. Because I think the right answer is to ship great games, ship them on PC, ship them on console, ship them on cloud, make them available Day 1 in the subscription. And I expect that’s what our competitor will do.”
Interestingly, a couple of months before the PS5’s launch, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said that a model similar to Xbox Game Pass would not be sustainable for PlayStation’s approach to game development, where most new releases are AAA projects with massive budgets. Not long afterward though, when asked if Sony was going to come out with a Game Pass competitor, Ryan said there was “news to come” on that front.